A Consumer Association survey showed that in 1985, one in seven of its 28,000

members had visited a non-conventional therapist in the past 12 months. By 1991, that was one in four.

The most popular therapies were osteo-pathy, chiropractic, homeopathy and acupuncture. Next came aromatherapy, reflexology, and herbal medicine.

According to the British Medical Association, there is no reliable data on non-conventional therapies available in the UK, despite a high concentration of alternative therapists in London and the South East.

The Consumer Association said that interest in non-conventional medicine is growing, particularly among young and women doctors. And it called for more

information about the subject to be circulated within the NHS.